International Women’s Day 2020: Celebrating 25 Years of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995
International Women’s Day is observed each year on 8th March to celebrate the “social, economic and political contributions” women have made to our world. It is the day to strengthen our commitment, to mobilize and to reflect on what needs to be done to create a gender equal world.
The UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future.” The #GenerationEquality campaign is not demanding any outstanding treatment for women. It only demands fairness in the form of equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls, healthcare services that respond to their needs, and their equal participation in political life, and decision making in all areas of life; in essence, equal opportunities, incentives, encouragement, appreciation and to feel safe anywhere and everywhere.
This year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the most visionary agenda for the empowerment of women and girls everywhere – the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995). It is therefore, crucial to review the 12 key areas, flagged by the 1995 Beijing Platform for urgent action, to ensure greater equality and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys: 1) women and poverty, 2) education and training of women, 3) women and health, 4) violence against women, 5) women and armed conflict, 6) women and the economy, 7) women in power and decision making, 8) institutional mechanisms, 9) human rights of women, 10) women and media, 11) women and the environment, and 12) the girl child.
This International Women’s Day, as the global community celebrates the 25 year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, let us reflect on the areas where we need to improve in order to achieve #GenerationEquality. Some of the key challenges are the lack of women in politics and decision making processes; the issue of 33% reservation for women reflects some of the core problems of gender inequality in Nagaland; and violence against women, which is often not spoken about, is on the rise in our State. Even though as per the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) report, Nagaland ranks among the lowest when it comes to the number of crimes against women, the 181-Women Helpline Nagaland and the Sakhi-One Stop Centres have received over 450 cases of violence against women since its inception. And the unfortunate reality is that women are hesitant to report. Our goal therefore, is to progress through changing the patriarchal mind-set of our society.
How can one be a part of the campaign to bring change? We must realise that each and every individual possesses the power to create a gender equal world. Let’s put our thoughts into action, be it in our homes, our workplace, our neighbourhood, and our society. We must take inspiration from Naga women pioneers like Lt. Rano Mese Shaiza (Only Woman MP from Nagaland), Zakielhunuo Tepa (First Woman Taxi Driver), T. Amongla Aier (First Woman IPS), Tokheli Kikon (First Woman Village Council Chairperson), and most recently, Onen Nenty, a female rider who is an excellent example of a woman using her passion for a mission. She has embarked on various trips to spread the message of women empowerment, and continues her mission, as she is set to take on an “All India Solo Bike Tour” which will be flagged off on 8th March from Delhi by Smt. Smriti Irani, Hon’ble Union Minister of Textile and Women and Child Development.
As we observe International Women’s Day, we applaud all women who are breaking barriers and stereotypes, and have made their mark in contributing towards gender equality. We also appreciate and acknowledge all the Government Departments/ bodies, District administrations, NGOs, and various organizations, who are celebrating this special event. Let us not end it with a one-day celebration, but let us continue to deliberate on how we can all come together in achieving #GenerationEquality.
The State Resource Centre for Women (SRCW) of Mahila Shakti Kendra (the erstwhile National Mission for Empowerment of Women), under its implementing Agency, the Nagaland State Social Welfare Board, has been working to empower women since 2012. It is the Project Management Unit (PMU) for Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) at the district and block levels and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) State level, and the Nodal Agency to implement the 181- Women Helpline, and Sakhi- One Stop Centre (OSC) schemes. With the successful implementation of its pilot projects, SRCW has been able to expand to other districts through the District Level Centres for Women and the Block level in aspirational District, Kiphire. One Stop Centres are now functional in all 11(eleven) districts and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has become a people’s movement in the 7 (seven) multi sectoral districts. Partnering and converging with various government Departments and private institutions, the SRCW has come a long way to make a mark as an agency to cater to various issues concerning the women of Nagaland. However, there is much to be done when it comes to the need for more inclusive programmes to help women achieve holistic development.
If you know a victim of violence, call the 181-Women Helpline Nagaland (alternate number: 9485239098) today and help her. Learn about various women related schemes and programmes and help someone in need of assistance.